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Pro Football Week 10

Jet Defense Steals Magic From Flutie

Pro football: Storybook season continues for Testaverde, who outperforms counterpart in 34-12 victory over Bills.

November 09, 1998|RICHARD OLIVER | NEWSDAY

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — By the time New York Jet defensive coordinator Bill Belichick had gone over the game plan with his players Saturday night at the team hotel, there was only one thing left to do.


So Belichick handed out bowls and poured everyone a helping of Flutie Flakes, the ultra-sweet breakfast cereal named after popular Buffalo Bill quarterback Doug Flutie. On Sunday, the defense was still feasting in a 34-12 victory over the Bills that gave the Jets their first four-game winning streak in five years.

The Jets are 6-3 and tied atop the AFC East with the Miami Dolphins. Sunday's victory gave the Jets a 4-0 record in the division, double their victory total in those games last season.

"It just tells me we're 6-3, that's what it tells me," Jet Coach Bill Parcells said. "I've been down this block before, boys. They're not sending me two dozen roses over here today. If they do, I'm going to send them right back."

Talk about a sugar rush.

"[The flakes] tasted pretty good," said cornerback Otis Smith, whose interception of Flutie late in the first half set up what proved to be the winning points as the Jets took a 13-9 lead. "They're kind of sweet, though. Today we got the real thing."

And devoured him.

Flutie, who arrived as the architect of four of the Bills' five consecutive victories, was the target of an aggressive defensive game plan that limited the Bills' offense to 182 yards, including only 48 rushing.

Buffalo (5-4) was held to four field goals by Steve Christie.

Flutie finished 12 for 30 passing for 154 yards and two interceptions that the Jets converted into 10 points. He was sacked twice and held to two yards in three carries.

"I've had some days," Flutie said, "but it's been a good five years since I've had to deal with one of these kinds of beatings. I mean, they outplayed us; they took it to us."

That gave another former Heisman Trophy winner plenty of room to operate. Vinny Testaverde moved to 6-0 as the Jets' starting quarterback, completing 22 of 31 passes for 258 yards and three touchdowns to three receivers, adding a meaningless interception on the game's opening play.

Testaverde, though hampered for the second straight week by a faltering ground attack, threw two perfect spirals for touchdowns, connecting with Keyshawn Johnson for 25 yards in the first quarter and Dedric Ward for 36 in the third.

The other touchdown came on a 12-yard pass to Wayne Chrebet in the fourth quarter.

Curtis Martin added a six-yard touchdown run.

"It's great to be at this point," Testaverde said. "We have to continue to work on it, though. A lot of the young guys can't believe things are this great, and I told them, 'It just gets better if you keep winning.' "

The Jets finished with 398 yards offense, including 121 on the ground, and 23 first downs.

The team also was 10 for 16 on third-down conversions--Buffalo was two for 12--and held the ball for almost 37 minutes, a season high.

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